August 26, 2009

Pakistan-China Land Bridge to Europe

Pakistan Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour says the government of Pakistan has awarded a 72 million rupee (just under $1 million US dollars) contract to an "international consortium" for a feasibility study of the China-Pakistan railway connection project. Minister Bilour's predecessor said much the same thing back in 2007. But no progress was made.

The Pakistan-China rail link envisioned will connect Havelian north of Islamabad, the northern limit of Pakistan's railways, 750 kilometers (approximately 466 miles) to the Chinese border. The railway would roughly follow the Karakorum Highway through territories plagued by separatist violence.

A bigger hurdle may be on China's side as the railway must go through the Khunjerab Pass at 4,693 meters or over 15,000 feet. But China accomplished a similar engineering feat when it built the world's highest railroad - the Qinghai-Tibet passage. To complete the connection to the Chinese railway network will require approximately 350 kilometers or 218 miles of track from Kashgar - the fabled "gateway" to China - to the border.

Pakistan's railways are now connected to Europe through Iran. A freight train carrying 20 containers left Islamabad on August 14 - the inauguration of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul rail service. The train arrived in Turkey yesterday (August 25). With the Pakistan-China border connection, Chinese exporters could use the route as a land bridge for goods from western China as an alternative to loading containers onto ships at Gwadar Port. Such a scenario may explain Beijing's decision to shelve development at Gwadar for the time being.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the Dong Fang Electric conglomerate headquartered in Chengdu, Sichuan, has an agreement to build the rail link with Pakistan Railways. Dong Fang already has two branch offices in the country....

Labels: , ,

Given the geographic latitude, expect less than 3 months per year for railroad transportation opperations at 15,000 feet above sea level. Crippling rogue snow storms in june, july and august are not surprising.
Therapy, if the Tibet railway is any indication the Chinese should be able to keep it open most of the time. Long stretches of the Tibet railway are elevated with pilings below the permafrost. A tunnel was even build through the permafrost. Plus maintenance is done DAILY with the constant surveillance from the HIKVision high tech company, installed a infrared camera system up and down the railroad.
Caboose, I defer to your analysis and conclusion as my origional prognosis was rash. Hiking up Mt. Whitney (14,500 feet) in summertime with facial hair static and hail does not vouchsafe me with the credibility to raise limits on China's great engineering gifts.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]